Common Questions Owners Have When Selling a Business

Sell a Colorado Business

Should I sell my business now given the current economic conditions?

Deciding on whether to sell your Colorado business now will depend on several factors specific to your situation. The first of which is what impact the virus has had on your revenues and profitability. Other factors include what industry you are in, the current trend line of your business, whether you think you can improve the bottom line of your business over the short term or not, and how your business performed during the last economic downturn. The current economic conditions are still very good as it relates to the ability to find buyers and the ability for me to sell businesses. The SBA will continue to aggressively provide loans and there are currently more qualified buyers than ever before.  Bankers tell me the SBA will ignore March 2020 to May 2020 but need to see some recovery since then.

What does pre-sale planning mean and how critical is it?

Sellers want the highest sales price possible, but most sellers are their own worst enemy in accomplishing this.  Sellers are often advised by their CPA or decide on their own, that they want to pay as little as possible in taxes.  This often means buying supplies in December that they don’t need until the next year, delaying some invoicing, keeping invoicing checks in their desks until after the first of the year, taking cash or trade, etc.   The result is that for every dollar they save in taxes it costs them 2 1/2 to 3 times that in the sales price.   This is just one example of how important planning can be in getting top dollar for your business.  I am an expert at helping you plan so you can get the most amount of money for your business.

What is the best exit strategy for me?

I can help you determine that.  I have a lot of experience at pre-sale planning and the choices that you should make.

How can you help with the emotional toll that some sellers face when selling?

It is emotional for sellers for several reasons and I can help with this. By letting me negotiate, you get to stay the good guy while I work to get you as high a price as possible.  I will also act as a buffer between both you and the buyer and often between the attorneys if there is a sticking point.  Further, I can recommend professionals for both buyers and sellers including but not limited to attorneys, financing, and CPA’s which will help get the deal done in a timely manner.  Also, during due diligence, I reassure sellers that the requests they receive are normal and usually the sole purpose is to help the buyer obtain financing to be able to complete the purchase.

How do I sell my business and keep it 100% confidential?

I make discretion my very top priority.  The first thing I do is to make sure that the lead marketing piece which I refer to as ‘the teaser’ does not give away who the business is and is approved in writing by the seller.  Further, the very first sentences in the sales package explain to buyers what the NDA they just signed actually means.  I spell out the fact that they are not to discuss who the business is with anybody, not to visit the business, not to approach vendors, suppliers, customers, competitors, etc.   The NDA that I use also includes details on the potential buyer including their liquidity, net worth, work experience, time to close, etc.  This means no detailed packages are sent to unqualified buyers.

What is my business worth?

I provide a complimentary, no-obligation valuation to all potential sellers.  The valuation uses 3 years of financials that I put into a spreadsheet with all benefits to the owner added back into the spreadsheet.  I work a for a percentage of the total sales price and I’m motivated to try to get as much money as possible for the seller. One of the ways I do that is by properly adjusting the earnings of the company to include all personal benefits the owner(s) gets from the company.  There are a lot of considerations that go into properly valuing a business including trend, size, location, profit margin, absentee owner or not, industry, the concentration of revenues, age of business, quality of financials, owner willing and able to transition, all cash or owner willing to carry some, etc.  I have a lot of experience providing accurate valuations. I am a seasoned broker who does not need to ‘trick’ a potential seller into hiring me by artificially inflating the valuation which is common for young brokers to do.

When is the best time to sell my business?

The best time to sell your business depends on many factors.  Factors that include your health, your personal goals, the economy, capitalization requirements for future growth, family, valuation, the trend of the top and bottom line, risk/reward, and attitude. I am qualified to help you make an informed decision.

Should I use a business broker?

The answer is yes and there are many reasons why.  I have accumulated over 30,500 emails from buyers who have shown interest in buying a business in Colorado.  Sometimes more than one buyer will make a run at the same business pushing the price higher which is more likely with a broker. I am an expert at negotiating deals, getting the highest price possible, and making sure that the deal stays together all the way to the closing.  It is also important that you be the good guy throughout the process and focus on the business and the potential of the business with buyers and not ruin this during negotiating the purchase price. Brokers are in a better position than sellers to negotiate a higher purchase price. I also have the ability to market your business professionally on many sites including my own website, Bizbuysell, Bizlistpro, Biznexus, Globalbx, Axial, Loopnet, LinkedIn, and to my own exclusive list of buyers.  Keep in mind that I work for a percentage and I’m motivated to get you as much money as I can.

How long does a sale typically take?

The standard length of time of a business brokers contract is one year.  The national average is just under a year for a business to sell.  Unfortunately, the national average is also that less than 50% of all businesses sell that are listed.  I have sold over 85% of my listings in an average time frame of 5 ½ months. Sellers have a lot to do with this time frame also.  Your job is to make sure that a potential buyer gets what they need in a timely fashion and that all of their reasonable questions are answered.   It Is also important that you keep your revenues and earnings up during the listing.  I have sold things as quickly as 30 days if a bank is not necessary and as quickly as 50 days if one is needed. I always offer referrals to experienced and fast bankers.

What is best, a stock sale or an asset sale?

90% of all transactions are asset purchases for many reasons.  The main reason is that the buyer will be advised by his/her attorney to create a new entity that helps to clearly separate liability between the old company/owner and the new buyer.  Most buyers attorneys will not allow their clients to buy stock instead of buying the assets because buying the stock increases the chances that the buyer is also buying into the risk past liabilities. There may be tax advantages to a seller if I can sell the stock and have successfully done this before.  Most sellers are advised to discuss this with their CPA, broker, and their attorney before they list their business.

What will happen to my employees after the transfer of the business?

It is rare for a buyer to want to upset the flow of the business until they have spent some significant time as the owner.  Usually, they want to form their own opinion of each employee and the future needs and/or changes that the business may require.  Typically, the new owner will come in to replace the old owner and the employees will be left alone for at least 6 months while the owner focuses on learning the business.  Since the old owner will typically stick around for one to 3 months after the closing, it’s very common for the old owner to be able to express their opinion of each employee to the new owner.  The employees also tend to put their best foot forward knowing they have to start over making an impression. The bottom line is that they will be given a fair chance to keep their jobs.

Who are the best buyers?

This is an important question for all sellers.   The best buyers have experience, plenty of working capital, confidence, get along with others, and have both an emotional and analytical interest in the business.  Emotional buyers tend to show up for closings, are excited about Monday mornings, put in an extra effort, and often do better than analytical buyers.  I am very good at matching the right buyers to specific businesses.   This increases the probability of a closing which helps the seller. It all starts with the buyer having the money, the experience or aptitude, and the right attitude.  Buyers willing to work the business themselves are usually preferable to absentee owners.   Also not owning other businesses especially in different geographic areas is preferred.   Buyers with a history of success are preferred over first-time buyers.

How long can I expect help after I sell my business?

Each business is different, and each buyer is different.  After several meetings, a buyer and seller will agree on how much help they believe the new buyer will need.   The average transition is 2 to 3 months paid by the new owner to the seller.  There are simple businesses like cleaning companies whereas the transition may only be 2 weeks and there are businesses that are very complicated where the transition could be 6 months.  I like to negotiate an increasing monthly salary for the seller to motivate the buyer to let them go as soon as possible.

Why should I hire Jeff at business broker Colorado to sell my business?

I have 17 years of experience in the business brokerage industry and have been working for over 10 years full time in the industry.  I have sold over 85% of my listings within the initial listing period and many above asking price.  I have a 5-star rating on Google and have a long list of references.   I do not charge anything upfront and only get paid at a successful closing. I charge industry-standard commission and there are no upfront fees, charges, or expenses that a seller has to pay.

How do you market my business different than other business brokers?

I use an effective marketing technique that other brokers don’t use which involves creating a video interview of you describing your company and why you are selling.  This allows a potential buyer to gain trust quickly in you and your business because you are explaining it in your own words.  Also, if you have a facility/office, I’ll film a video of the location so the potential buyer can also see your business and is more likely to set up a phone call and meeting with you.  Over the years I have accumulated a database of over 30,500 emails from individuals and groups that have shown interest in buying businesses here in Colorado that I keep up to date daily.  In addition, I can also market your business to a list of buyers that have looked at similar business in the past. This gets a customized email and a follow-up phone call which makes this highly effective.  I take advantage of the most popular websites that advertise businesses for sale such as Bizbuysell, Bizlistpro, Biznexus, Globalbx, Axial, Loopnet, LinkedIn, and my own website which gets you a lot of exposure.

Can you recommend Bankers, CPA’s or Accountants to help me get my paperwork in order if I don’t have one?

Yes, I can provide referrals for professionals that I have long-standing relationships, have had good experiences with, and don’t pay me any referral fees.

Once you find me qualified buyers, what happens next?

I obtain a fully filled out Non-Disclosure Agreement, then provide the sales package with a Data Room containing your financials, the video interview of you describing your business along with a walkthrough of your facility if you have one.  Next, I answer any questions the potential buyer may have and then set you up with a phone call or meeting.  Ultimately, you choose the buyer who we both think can successfully take over your business, has the financial ability to close the deal, and the personality and drive to continue to grow the business.

Are you in contact with me throughout the process so I know what’s going on?

Yes, I will help guide you all the way from our initial meeting, marketing your business, and negotiating with the potential buyer and all parties involved all the way to closing.

What does a closing look like and how long does it take?

All closings are different.  Most are done remotely these days and all the paperwork has already been reviewed, agreed to, and in many cases already signed before the closing.  Remote closings are typically just about the seller receiving the consideration (money) which is the final step for the closing to have officially taken place. It is increasingly rare to have a tabletop closing but when there is a traditional closing, it usually lasts between 45 minutes and 1 ½ hours.  When real estate is involved, the closing typically takes place at a trust company or attorney’s office and is often 2 hours or longer.  After the closing, I always make sure that both the buyer and seller get a copy of all the paperwork.

When business sellers are looking for a business broker who can sell their business for the highest amount they should talk to Jeff at 303-905-7607 or email him at jeff@businessbrokercolorado.com.

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